Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post-Conflict Reconstruction.


To the extent that Horizontal Inequalities (HIs), or inequalities between groups in access to economic, social and political resources, are an important source of conflict, then correcting them should form a significant aspect of policy design in the post-conflict period. The paper reviews what this might mean in relation to policies towards group access to assets and incomes; to social services; and political participation. It argues that the types of policies aimed at correcting group inequalities, in fact are fairly common in ethnically divided societies, sometimes taking the form of corrections to unfair processes, and sometimes of quotas and targets. Moreover, in some cases (including Malaysia and N. Ireland) they seem to have been effective in sustaining or promoting peace. Yet, despite their importance in many post-conflict situations, they rarely form an explicit part of the post-conflict development agenda. This is illustrated in this paper by reviewing general statements about post-conflict policies, and through examining two case studies - Mozambique and Guatemala. In each of these cases, HIs were one of the sources of conflict. Yet in Mozambique these have been ignored in the post-war era, and in fact most policies have tended to accentuate them, while in Guatemala some of the peace protocols did contain provisions which would have helped correct the HIs but these mostly have not been put into effect. Political obstacles can prevent such policies being adopted, such as in Guatemala. Moreover, the policies need to be adopted with political sensitivity as they can become a source of conflict themselves, as arguably occurred in Sri Lanka.


CRISE Working Paper 7, 42 pp.

Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post-Conflict Reconstruction.

Published 1 January 2005